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Pale Leaves

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Pale Leaves

Post  Beav395 on 3/7/2012, 4:27 pm

A couple of my plants have some leaves that turned pale, feel really soft and wilted. I'm thinking its from too much watering maybe. I've been giving them are pretty good soak once a day. It's also possible I transplanted them a little too deep, meaning the soil comes up to high on the plant. Would that cause this too? I don't know I'm a rookie. Should I pinch those bad leaves off?

Here's a few pictures

Swiss Chard




Cauliflower

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Re: Pale Leaves

Post  fiddleman on 3/7/2012, 6:03 pm

I've not grown swiss chard before, so I am not sure how sensitive it is to transplant shock. Though from the size of the plants I would think it unlikely.

My thoughts are... did you follow Mel's directions for the Mel's mix, 5 different composts if bought or your own compost if you made it. I always wonder about whether the peat moss was fluffed and mixed properly in with the other ingredients. I wonder if there is enough nitrogen in the soil, if it was poor compost, i.e. lots of peat moss filler added, or not fully composted material, then you can have composting continuing in the garden. Perhaps, the temps have been cold, though I would have thought the other leave tips affected. If you added the vermiculite, fluffed peat moss, and compost, then I would think you shouldn't be having this problem from over watering. You have a hard time overwatering Mel's Mix. Your picture leads me to believe the Mix is a bit off... bad (not fully composted)compost. All of the twigs and bark in the mix in the bottom picture as they degrade in the Mels Mix may be robbing the soil of Nitrogen.

So thinking through this, I suspect two things. 1. If your mix is incorrect or 2. Low nitrogen (perhaps some other mineral). In either case it's too late to do much to correct the mix without pulling the plants (you can correct when you harvest) so now we have to treat the problem...

I personally would think a shot of Miracle Gro or some other high nitrogen spray on will help the plants through this tough period. I would top dress with a bit more compost as well to help them longer term.

I am guessing at long distance, though if my plants looked like yours do, I would pick the bad leaves off the plant and give a squirt of high nitrogen spray on fertilizer and see how they responded. Then when I harvest I would give a big heaping helping trowel full of compost to the square.

Just my 2 cents.

Mark

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Re: Pale Leaves

Post  Beav395 on 3/7/2012, 6:56 pm

Thank you for the thoughtful response.

To answer a couple of the question:

I purchased compost. I used Gardener and Bloom Soil Building Compost the ingredients are Forest humus, Chicken manure, Worm castings, Bat guano, Kelp meal, Oyster shell, Lime & dolomite as pH adjusters, Gypsum and Mycorrhizae. There was no peat moss filler added unless the label is inaccurate/deceiving. I guess its certainly possible the compost was not fully composted. I don't know. I chose this because I saw it recommended in SFG forums for people that don't have their own homemade compost.

I'm know my mix is off some. Its not a perfect 1/3 of each mixture. Since mixing my soil I have seen better methods of ensuring true 1/3 each mixture (eg. using rubbermad bins). I probably have less than a 1/3 rd of vermiculite and more than a 1/3 rd of peat moss. I tried to fluff the peat moss as best as I could with a rake before I added the vermiculite and the compost to it.

Not all of my plants are having the problem. My romaine and strawberries seem to be doing really well. They are looking good and getting bigger.

I have a bag of 6-24-24 fertilizer in my garage I could try. Better yet, is there a organic equivalent to the miracle grow solution suggested?



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pale leaves

Post  curio on 3/7/2012, 7:06 pm

Without knowing just what is causing this, you will be taking a chance adding any sort of nitrogen or other fertilizers. Have you done a pH test to see what the overall pH of the mix is? I would start there, since an off-balance pH can cause issues. I would also do a soil test for NPC. You can buy inexpensive test kits at most garden centers and even some of the big box stores.
If you don't get any answers from those two tests, you might use a half strength fish fertilizer on part of the plants, and not on others (as a control) I would also pluck those discolored leaves so any sort of rot doesn't set in. If the stems are still sturdy, it's possible that something happened to affect those older leaves.

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Re: Pale Leaves

Post  plantoid on 3/7/2012, 7:24 pm

Whilst you cannot theoretically over water MM in one go you can water it too much too often and make life for the plants unhappy as well as washing out nutrients.

I'd go and buy a cheap moisture test probe as watering it to death every day seems far too often .

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Re: Pale Leaves

Post  camprn on 3/7/2012, 10:08 pm

To me your mix looks dry and the plants look thirsty. Out of curiosity, could you tell us what your daytime temps and relative humidity is? Are those wood chips in the mix or is it shredded bark? Additionally, older leaves will just naturally expire as the plants put out new growth and that is what I am seeing with the chard. Yes you can pinch off the yellowing leaves! Very Happy The brassica just looks thirsty to my eyes. Suggestion is, at this point tinker as little as possible, don't use that really strong fertilizer and give it a nice long soak! If you want to do something other than that, I would suggest to topdress at least one inch with a different compost. If you do have the wood chips in the mix, the plants will be thankful for that little bitty boost of nitrogen the top compost layer can give. What a Face
The basic thing here is that you have the mix to as close as you could get it and that's a good thing, but to make it closer to a healthy growing mix, stick with compost, which will give health to the mix. Once you start with an intervention, that will lead to another intervention and so on. Finding what the trouble is in the first place will guide you in the right direction for the correct intervention, if you need it at all.

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Re: Pale Leaves

Post  Lindacol on 3/7/2012, 11:58 pm

@Beav395 wrote:Thank you for the thoughtful response.

To answer a couple of the question:

I purchased compost. I used Gardener and Bloom Soil Building Compost the ingredients are Forest humus, Chicken manure, Worm castings, Bat guano, Kelp meal, Oyster shell, Lime & dolomite as pH adjusters, Gypsum and Mycorrhizae. There was no peat moss filler added unless the label is inaccurate/deceiving. I guess its certainly possible the compost was not fully composted. I don't know. I chose this because I saw it recommended in SFG forums for people that don't have their own homemade compost.

I'm know my mix is off some. Its not a perfect 1/3 of each mixture. Since mixing my soil I have seen better methods of ensuring true 1/3 each mixture (eg. using rubbermad bins). I probably have less than a 1/3 rd of vermiculite and more than a 1/3 rd of peat moss. I tried to fluff the peat moss as best as I could with a rake before I added the vermiculite and the compost to it.


Your mix looks woody & dry. That compost could be mostly forest humus with small amounts of the other composts. I would suggest you get another type of compost, maybe Black Kow, to add as you need to add compost and for now use it to make a compost tea to quickly add nutrients without adding something too strong.
If your weather is like mine has been(I am only about 45 miles from you), except for the last couple of days, it has been hot & dry and daily watering is needed for new transplants & seedlings.

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Re: Pale Leaves

Post  Beav395 on 3/8/2012, 3:07 am

To Curio and Plantoid - Thank you for the tips on the ways to test the soil. I have been thinking about doing that but for some reason I had the idea the test kits were too expensive. I will look into this further.

Weather wise its been on the warm and side. Maybe high in the mid 80's. The last couple days have been cooler, in the 60's. But lets face it, Southern California has its faults but the weather is pretty darn nice Cool. Anyway yea its probably averaging mid 70's over all.

I do agree the compost has a lot of bigger pieces of wood in it which I'm not crazy about. I'll probably do as suggested and look into the Black Kow. I've seen it mentioned before. I also like the idea of making compost tea with it but I'm not sure how to do that. LOL

As far as the moisture of the soil I've just been sticking my finger down into it to see if it feels moist or not, and so far its felt moist to my untrained touch. hehe

This being my first garden I'm getting a lesson in patience which is great.

With all this terrific feedback I think my plan will be to pinch those ugly leaves off, continue watering daily without just totally soaking it and continue to watch things. I'm going to look around for that Black Kow compost and top dress as suggested. I'm also going to keep my eye open for some inexpensive test kits. I think those will be a good investment as I continue gardening for seasons to come.

I just noticed today I have a couple new cucumber seedlings popping up. Very Happy

What a fantastic community here.

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Re: Pale Leaves

Post  walshevak on 3/8/2012, 7:15 am

Black Kow brand is not distributed in CA, but look for another composted cow or chicken manure or even small amount of worm castings. Otherwise +1 on the advice.

CA posters help please on local brands.



Kay

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Re: Pale Leaves

Post  Lindacol on 3/8/2012, 2:09 pm

@walshevak wrote:Black Kow brand is not distributed in CA, but look for another composted cow or chicken manure or even small amount of worm castings. Otherwise +1 on the advice.

CA posters help please on local brands.

Kay
I wasn't aware that Black Kow is not available here I would look for cow manure compost because it would make your mix more well rounded with something that wasn't in your original mix.
Do a search on the forum for compost tea. It can be simple or more complicated to make. I just put some compost in a bucket of water, stir a couple of times a day, for a couple of days. Then pour it around the plants. Most will strain it before use.

Sorry I don't pay much attention to what compost brands are available locally as I have an unlimited supply of manure & hay to make my own compost. I have goats and get free cow & horse manure.

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Re: Pale Leaves

Post  Unmutual on 3/8/2012, 7:06 pm

@camprn wrote:Additionally, older leaves will just naturally expire as the plants put out new growth and that is what I am seeing with the chard. Yes you can pinch off the yellowing leaves!

+1 to this, it could just be natural. All my cool weather crops have had their lower leaves go yellow and fall off at some point or another. Scratch the top 1-2" of MM aside in an open area(try to stay away from roots), and if you have no moisture down there, then that could be a problem also, just not sure if it's causing the chlorosis(yellowing of leaves). Many things can cause that: not enough nitrogen, too little water, too much water, some other stress(diseases/parasites/temperatures), pH can play into it(improper pH restricts what nutrients a plant can uptake from its roots-this is a big reason you have to get your MM right to begin with). But after typing all of that, I'm sticking with it's just a natural dropping of older leaves.

Generally speaking, plants need 1" of water a week(roughly half a gallon). In warmer climates(like your area and my area), they need a lot more, especially(if you're like me) and don't mulch(which I keep telling myself I really should do, but just can't seem to bring myself to do it because finding the "right" mulch can be a bigger pain than finding 5 composts). If I mulched, then I could probably get away with just 1" of water per week. Since I don't, I have to water 2+ times that amount during summer.

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Re: Pale Leaves

Post  camprn on 3/8/2012, 7:23 pm

[quote="Unmutual"]
@camprn wrote:Generally speaking, plants need 1" of water a week(roughly half a gallon). In warmer climates(like your area and my area), they need a lot more, especially(if you're like me) and don't mulch(which I keep telling myself I really should do, but just can't seem to bring myself to do it because finding the "right" mulch can be a bigger pain than finding 5 composts). If I mulched, then I could probably get away with just 1" of water per week. Since I don't, I have to water 2+ times that amount during summer.
I add a topdressing of homemade compost to act as a type of mulch. It will slow down the MM drying out.

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Re: Pale Leaves

Post  Beav395 on 3/9/2012, 1:33 am

Thanks for the optimism about the outer leaves falling off being natural. That would be great. That is consistent with whats going on with my plants.

Thats good to know about general water requirements. That gives me a good idea of how much to water.

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